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If you own your home there are several ways in which you might be able to make a little extra cash and stay afloat financially into the bargain.
Rent a room
If you have a spare room sitting empty a lodger could help to pay the mortgage and a share of the utility bills. The Government's Rent a Room scheme allows you to earn up to £4,250 a year (gross) in tax-free income from renting part of your home to a lodger.
The scheme enables you to rent a single room or an entire floor of your home, provided that it is furnished and not converted into separate flats. Both homeowners and those renting can take advantage of this tax-free income, provided it is allowed under the terms of your mortgage lender/insurer's terms and conditions or your rental lease.
Most charge only for the rent of the room allowing the lodger use of the kitchen, bathroom and living room, but it is commonplace for the bills to be shared accordingly or included in the rental price. Of course you can charge more than the stipulated amount but do so and you will be liable to pay income tax on your profit.
Though the majority of homeowners might baulk at the idea given the current economic climate, for anyone who has the money in place for a loft conversion or extension with rentable possibilities, the advantages are two-fold. Not only will it enable you to rent out the space and recoup some of the money spent on building work, but when the housing market does pick up, you'll have added value to the property.
If you're lucky enough to be heading off in search of some sun, sea and sand this summer, why not consider renting out your home? Tourists and visitors to the UK are always on the lookout for comfortable property for short breaks, weekends or two-week holidays and you could earn anywhere from £300 a week to well over £1,000, depending on your area. London properties generally command the highest prices and with the Olympics just around the corner, you could make a bundle.
There are a number of websites on which you can register your home for short lets but do be aware that many corporate clients will expect the property to be furnished to a high standard and it will need to be spotless. You may also need to declare the income generated and you will need to make your insurer aware that people will be staying in the house.
Rent a parking space
Anyone who drives to work will know just how difficult finding a parking space can be. With public car park prices on the up and up and a traffic warden seemingly lurking round every corner, there's money to be made if you have parking to spare.
Those with off-road parking or a garage available can rent it out by the year. Websites such as YourParkingSpace.co.uk charge a £15 annual fee to advertise your space with a full refund if you it's not booked within 45 days. Earnings can be anywhere from £10 to £60 a week depending on your proximity to train stations, large employers or big sporting venues.
Gorgeous properties in lovely locations can often be rented out for photoshoots, TV or film.
Admittedly you're unlikely to get a Hollywood blockbuster booking unless you're living in a stunning country manor house but period properties and those in beautiful country or beach locations or with stunning interior design are often snapped up for magazine shoots.
Once again, there are a number of online location agencies about, though they will charge a percentage if your property is booked, and you should be prepared for busy crews and bulky equipment to be lugged in and out of your house. But with photographic shoots starting at around £500 a day and TV and film often paying upwards of £1,000 a day, it could be a quick and easy way to claw back some of the hard-earned cash you've spent on making your home perfect.